What Not to Pack When Moving – A Short Guide

October 30, 2018 / Posted in Moving Basics
Eva Johnson

Digital nomad born in New York but currently living online, Eva knows everything there is to know about packing and moving.

If you’ve ever moved and fallen into the trap of overpacking, then you’re familiar with the importance of proper organization. That experience probably frustrated you, particularly if you’re short on packing supplies. But, believe it or not, it’s not the worst part of it. Much worse is the task of handling everything without knowing what not to pack when moving.

A girl taping the box on the stool, surrounded by packages
When relocating to a new place, you can use our tips to pack your boxes like a pro

In case you’re planning to move soon, you should know what items to bring and what could be a surplus or even unwanted cargo for movers. Besides, it’s not just a matter of your additional expenses or more lifting and loading tasks for a professional crew – some things are dangerous for transportation and belong on a list of forbidden items.

Thanks to our short guide, you have a chance to find out what is essential when relocating and what should be left behind. Be prepared and take the necessary steps for your stress-free moving experience.

professional movers carrying boxes and carpet
If you’re not sure what items are allowed when relocating, you can always turn to experts for help

It’s Important to Know What Not to Pack When Moving

If you’ve decided to move, you might think the best and the most cost-efficient option is to turn it into a DIY project. That could be the most affordable way, but not so reliable, safe, or efficient.

What does that mean? While packing, you might disregard or forget about cautionary measures. You may pack some unnecessary things that can cause considerable damage if not protected and wrapped correctly. Thanks to professional movers and their packing services, these risky situations are reduced to a minimum.

So, before you jump into sorting and packaging, make sure you are familiar with the list of objects your moving company is not allowed (by law) to take on their cargo truck.

a couple boxing up stuff
Keep in mind our handy tips about permitted stuff when relocating long-distance - they can spare you of a lot of trouble

Items You Can’t Pack – Including Foods

If you’ve already created your items checklist or an inventory of your belongings, you should put aside several piles of undesirable objects when packing and relocating. There is a certain number of basic categories to consider, but some removal companies have stricter precautionary measures than others. To know beforehand what to place in your boxes, you should contact movers and ask for details. You’d be surprised by certain things that the movers won’t move, such as nail polish and remover and several types of household cleaners. Anyway, the safest way is always to consult your carrier.


The First Security Step – Flammables, Gases, and Poisons

There are plenty of cleaning chemicals and compressed gases in every household that are commonly used in daily housework tasks. These are not dangerous if appropriately stored in your garage or under the sink, but when it comes to transporting them across state borders, they can’t be moved by professional companies. The safest way is to dispose of them securely or take them with you in your own vehicle. Some of the most common flammable items and hazardous materials that are forbidden to transfer long-distance are:

  • Flammables and combustibles (ammonia, batteries, fireworks, gasoline and kerosene, matches, motor oil, nail polish, etc.)
  • Compressed gases and poisons (aerosol sprays, insecticides or pesticides, gardening chemicals, oxygen tanks, etc.)

Get Rid of Perishables

Several weeks before your relocation, you should stop buying fresh food and start emptying your fridge and consuming groceries. That’s how you will reduce your food supplies and won’t fall into the trap of packing all sorts of perishables. On the other hand, some removal companies allow storing canned food with a regular expiration date, but that depends on your mover’s policies and procedures. To avoid guesswork, talk to your carrier and ensure peace of mind when the relocation day comes.

Plants, Flowers, and Pets

Since your botanical friends are live organisms, just like your pet, they can’t be packed into your mover’s truck with all other household goods. Without fresh air, sun, and water, they will hardly survive a long-distance move. That being said, you could donate unwanted items such as live plants or give them to your family and friends. If you, however, possess some vegetation of sentimental value, then it’s feasible to carry it across the border – but in your car. It’s a perfect place for your flora since you can monitor it and provide complete care in a temperature-controlled atmosphere.

But, before placing your cherished plant into your vehicle, consider specific laws and regulations concerning plant imports. Some vegetation may carry insects, pests, or diseases that may be viewed as a threat to another state, its residents and vegetation. Therefore, check out your destined country’s or state’s specific policies before deciding what plant to take with you and what to leave behind.

couple looking through the window
It’s not a good idea to place flowers in boxes and into a truck

Things You Shouldn’t Pack on a Moving Truck

Besides the things that long-distance movers won’t move, some other items are best transported in your vehicle. These categories are reserved for essential stuff that movers usually refuse to handle to avoid liability due to possible damage or loss.

Don’t Leave Valuables Lying Everywhere

Personal belongings are something that you might use daily, and you probably wouldn’t feel too comfortable leaving your money, jewelry, or heirlooms buried somewhere in the truck bed. Here’s a list of valuable and sentimental belongings that you should keep at hand:

  • Prescription medications
  • Valuable collections
  • Jewelry and furs
  • Money
  • Insurance policies

Important Papers Related to Moving

When relocating across state borders, you should definitely have important papers near you, such as passports and photo IDs, bill of lading, car titles and housing documents. Documents from your healthcare provider are also something related to your privacy issues, and you shouldn’t lose sight of them. Packing everything relevant to your move and any other specific requirements can save you from additional worries.

The Open-First Box of Essentials

A box with all the necessary items during your move and after settling in is a must. You should ask yourself what equipment you may need in case of camping outside your home. Everything that pops up into your mind is something you should put here. This box, therefore, should include the following:

  • Toilet paper and hand soap
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Basic tools
  • Shower supplies
  • Personal care items
  • Snacks and utensils
  • Basic bedding
  • A change of clothes
  • Hot beverage supplies
  • Charger, cable, and battery
girls sitting on the floor
If you like stress-free moments during relocation and after settling in, don’t forget to put toiletries in an open-first box

Request a Free Quote From a Moving Company

It’s needless to say that all the nuances related to DIY packing are not applicable when planning to move with professional movers. That’s why you should take into consideration the option of scheduling free in-home estimates for the relocation. Even if you intend to handle the entire move by yourself, inviting a mover into your home and asking for a quote could help you learn what items could and should be packed and what not to pack when moving to your new apartment.

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